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A Comparative Study between

British and Spanish consumers

Rosa Colomé ∂

Daniel Serra ψ

∂

Dept. of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Trias Fargas, 25-27, Barcelona 08005, Spain.

Tel: 34-3-5422696, Fax: 34-3-5421746. Mail: rosa.colome@ econ.upf.es

ψ

Corresponding author: Dept. of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Trias Fargas, 25-27,

Barcelona 08005, Spain. Tel: 34-3-5421666, Fax: 34-3-5421746. Mail: daniel.serra@econ.upf.es

1

Supermarket Key Attributes and Location Decisions:

Consumers

Abstract

The Maximum Capture problem (MAXCAP) is a decision model that addresses the issue

of location in a competitive environment. This paper presents a new approach to

determine which store’s attributes (other than distance) should be included in the new

Market Capture Models and how they ought to be reflected using the Multiplicative

Competitive Interaction model. The methodology involves the design and development of a

survey; and the application of factor analysis and ordinary least squares. The

methodology has been applied to the supermarket sector in two different scenarios: Milton

Keynes (Great Britain) and Barcelona (Spain).

2

1. INTRODUCTION

Major food retailing companies in the UK are increasingly moving away from building large

superstores and are investing in convenience food stores and middle sized supermarkets

(Hunt, 1997). Moreover, 73.2% of the consumers consider supermarkets as the retail channel

providing the best overall experience for food shopping (Orgel, 1997).

The trend of the middle sized supermarkets holds true for most European countries with

supermarket as the main shopping destination in most of Europe, except in France, Portugal

and Greece (The European, April 6, 1998). Specifically, the Spanish trends in food retailing

companies reveal an the waxing fortunes of supermarkets and the wane of corner-shops and

Given this new trend, one would expect retailing companies to put their hopes for growth in

supermarkets. Research findings reveal that the main reasons for choosing this format of

food retailing are price (35.2 %), location (19.7 %), quality (18.8%) and variety (13.1 %)

(Orgel, 1997). While price, quality and variety can be changed to deal with competitors’

policies, the same cannot be said of location which, to all intents and purposes, represents a

In this environment, supermarket’s location could be the most important determinant of the

attributes of stores are location, location and location”. It is therefore not surprising that

considerable study has been devoted to this point. One approach to this field is that enshrined

Competitive Location literature in discrete space addresses the issue of optimally locating

firms that compete for clients in space. A competitive location model is such that there is

3

more than one firm competing in the spatial market and with interaction between them. The

location decision of a firm will affect not only its market share, but also its competitors

market shares (Serra and ReVelle, 1996). Freisz, et.al. (Freisz, et.al., 1988) pointed out that

one of the three competitive network facility location models that were “likely to serve as

(ReVelle, 1986). Traditionally, the discrete location modeling literature has been

successfully applied to locate public sector services, where the main aim is to optimize some

minimizing average distance to the service). Actually, new models are appearing within a

private sector context, where there is competition among providers of the service. The

models employed focus on solving problems like hierarchical services and scenarios with

different demand and/ or competitor locations. To date, this literature has assumed that

consumers shop at the closest store supplying a specific product or service. However, one

needs to ask whether this assumption reflects consumer behavior. It seems more realistic to

admit that consumers do not merely consider distance when making-choosing retail shops.

Store-Choice literature studies the key variables that influence a consumer when deciding

where shop as well as the interaction between these variables. Literature on the subject

reveals that distance is not the only variable consumers take into account when deciding

This last statement sheds light on the next direction of research in MAXCAP problems,

trying to include Store-Choice theories in its models. It stands to reason that any retail

location model should take into account the processes underlying consumers’ choice of

store. The paper follows up this new direction of research whose broader aim is to provide a

4

new version of the MAXCAP model, which could be applied to the retail sector. This

broader research work has defined three main stages on the way to achieving this objective:

§ First, an analysis of how best to include distance in the new version of MAXCAP model.

§ Second, analyze which store attributes (other than distance) should be included in the

new version of the MAXCAP model and how these could be incorporated.

§ Third, a solution employing the new version of the MAXCAP model and its application

to a real case.

Since the first stage was analyzed by Colomé and Serra (Colomé and Serra, 1998), this paper

tackles the second stage and its application to the supermarket sector.

In essence, the MAXCAP problem seeks the location of a fixed number of stores for firm

entering in a spatial market where competitors’ shops are already doing business. Since

consumers in an area are captured by a given shop if there is no closer shop, the objective of

the entering firm is to maximize its market capture. The MAXCAP model uses the

traditional view of all or nothing capture relative to the distance criteria. This assumption

emerges in the definition of the parameter ρij. Specifically, the parameter ρij is defined as a

binary variable that takes value 1 (i.e. all consumer’s zone i will shop at shop j) if the shop j

is the closest one to the consumer’s zone i. The underlying assumption is thus that

As we have said, this assumption does not reflect the real behavior of consumer’s choice.

Hence the interest in incorporating Store-Choice theories to define the ρij parameter in

MAXCAP models. In this paper, ρij has been defined by using the revealed preference

5

approach of the Store-Choice Behavior theories. Specifically, the Multiplicative1

Competitive Interaction2 (MCI) model (Nakanishi and Cooper, 1974) was used. This model

determines ρij using information revealed by past consumer’s behavior in order to understand

the dynamics of retail competition and how consumers choose among alternative shopping

opportunities.

The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 reviews the literature. Section 3 presents the

new methodology, which involves a survey and the application of several analyses to each

scenario (presented in Section 4). Section 5 presents the new MAXCAP model for the

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

The choice of a store’s location is considered to be the single most important decision a retail

organization makes since it is a critical factor in the enterprise’s success or failure. Given the

importance of this issue, several lines of study have addressed the question of store’s

location. The relevant ones for this paper are the Competitive Location Literature and the

Store-Choice one.

Competitive Location Literature is one line of study within the retail store field which

addresses the issue of optimally locating firms that compete for clients in space. Hotelling

pioneered this field (Hotelling, 1929) and assumed that consumers would shop at the nearest

store. Different models based on this assumption of consumer behavior have been developed

1

Note that this model becomes additive after the log-transformation is undertaken (see section 3.4.).

2

The Competitve Interaction condition arises from the fact that in this model individuals select among

alternatives probabilistically, in relation to the utilities offered by each choice alternative.

6

since then. Friesz, et.al. (Friesz, et.al., 1988) pointed out that there are three competitive

network facility location models that were “likely to serve as foundations for future models”.

These ones are the ones of Lederer (Lederer, 1986), Tobin and Friesz (Tobin and Friesz,

The key one for this paper was the one developed by ReVelle (ReVelle, 1986). ReVelle and

his followers constructed a group of models that examined competition among retail stores

in a discrete spatial market. The basic model was the Maximum Capture Problem

(MAXCAP) (ReVelle, 1986). In essence, the MAXCAP problem seeks the location of a

fixed number of stores (p stores) for an entering firm in a spatial market where there are

other shops from other firms already competing for clients3. The spatial market is

represented by a network. Each node of the network represents a local market with a fixed

demand, which is given. The location of the shops is limited to the nodes of the network.

shop closer to it. The objective of the entering firm is to maximize its market capture4.

This model has been adapted to different situations. The first modification introduced shops

that are hierarchical in nature and where there is competition at each level of the hierarchy

(Serra, et. al., 1992). A second extension took into account the possible reaction from

competitors to the entering firm (Serra and ReVelle, 1994). Finally, another modification of

the MAXCAP problem introduced scenarios with different demands and / or competitor

locations (Serra et.al. 1996). A good review of these models can be found in Serra and

3

Without loss of generality, it is assumed that there is only one competing firm operating in the market

(ReVelle, 1986).

4

This objective, given the assumptions on the characteristics of the retail stores, is almost equivalent to

7

ReVelle (Serra and ReVelle, 1996) and a real application of it in Serra and Marianov (Serra

i∈I j∈J

Subject to

(2) ∑x

j⊂J

ij = 1, ∀i ∈ I

(3) xij ≤ x jj , ∀i ∈ I , ∀j ∈ J

(4) ∑x

j⊂J

jj =p

5

The p-median like approach is the one that took into account the fact that the demand depends on the distance

8

d ibi = The network distances from node i to the closest competitor shop bi.

The constraint set basically that: constraint set (2) forces each demand node i to assign to

only one facility. But for a demand node i to be assigned to a facility at j, there has to be a

facility open at j; this is achieved by constraint set (3). Finally, constraint (4) sets the number

The objective function defines the total capture that firm A can achieve with the siting of its

p servers.

define the ρij parameter in a way, which is not just based on proximity

literature studies the key variables, which a customer takes into account when shopping at a

particular shop, and how these variables interact. This literature usually assumes that the

consumer not only cares about which shop is the closest but also considers other variables in

9

making his decision to patronize a particular establishment. The development of the

Store-Choice models may be classified into three groups (Craig, et.al., 1984).

The first group includes models that rely on some normative assumption regarding consumer

travel behavior. The simplest model is the nearest-centre hypothesis; i.e., consumers

patronize the nearest outlet that provides the required good or service. This hypothesis has

not found much empirical support, except in areas where shopping opportunities are few and

transportation is difficult.

The empirical evidence suggested that consumers trade off the cost of travel with the

attractiveness of alternative shopping opportunities. The first one to recognize this was

Reilly in its Reilly’s “law of retail gravitation” (1929) based on Newton’s Law of

Gravitation6 (1686). Reilly’s law states that “the probability that a consumer patronizes a

it” (Reilly, 1929). Reilly was the precursor of the “gravity” type of spatial choice models. As

this early stage, these models were non-calibrated in the sense that the parameters of the

models have a priori assigned value. The best representatives of this group are the models of

These non-calibrated gravity models have some limitations (Diez de Castro, 1997):

§ They can only be applied to big stores like hypermarkets and shopping centers.

§ They can only be applied when the consumer buys non-usual goods.

10

§ They have a restrictive assumption that forces consumer’s zones to be assigned to only

one shop.

The second group includes models that use the revealed preference approach to calibrate the

“gravity” type of spatial choice models. These ones use information revealed by past

behavior to understand the dynamics of retail competition and how consumers choose among

Huff (Huff, 1964) was the first one to use the revealed preference approach to study retail

store choice. The Huff probability formulation uses distance (or travel time) from

consumer’s zones to retail centers and the size of retail centers as inputs to find the

probability of consumers shopping at a given retail outlet. He was also the first one to

introduce the Luce axiom of discrete choice7 in the gravity model. Using this axiom,

consumers may visit more than one store and the probability of visiting a particular store is

equal to the ratio of the utility of that store to the sum of utilities of all stores considered by

the consumers.

The main critique to Huff model is its over-simplification since it only considers two

Nakanishi and Cooper (1974) extended Huff’s model by including a set of store

attractiveness attributes (rather than just one attribute employed in Huff’s model). Attributes

such as consumer opinion of store image, store appearance, and service level can be used, as

6

Newton’s Law of Gravitation studies the force between planets and stars in the universe. This law states that

the force between two bodies is proportional to the product of the masses of the bodies and inversely

proportional to the square of the distance between them.

7

Luce axiom applied to this case assumes that customers choose the optimal location option as a function of

the utility of this option with respect to the level of utility of the other options.

11

well as objectives measures as travel distance and physical distance (Vandell & Carter,

1993). This more general statement was known as the Multiplicative8 Competitive

consumers are not assigned exclusively to one shop, and the models can be applied to cases

where consumers shopping habits are independent of store size. Despite these improvements,

reject stores beyond a certain distance. Consumers may also reject stores unless they

§ Context dependence; i.e., the estimated parameters reflect the characteristics of existing

stores in the area. For example, the parameters associated with characteristics on which

the existing stores do not differ much would be low. This does not, however, imply that

such characteristics are unimportant to consumers but rather, that because of their

similarity across stores, other variables are used to discriminate among them.

§ The distance decay parameter (β) is highly dependent on the characteristics of the spatial

structure. The implication is that in assessing the importance of location on store utilities,

individuals consider not only the distance to that stores but also the relative distances to

8

Note that this model becomes additive after the log-transformation is undertaken (see section 3.4.).

9

The Competitve Interaction condition comes from the fact that in this model individuals select among

alternatives probabilistically, in relation to the utilities offered by each choice alternative.

10

Some of these problems can be alternatively seen as a reflection of the “reality”. For this reason, we present

here the theoretical limitations of these models, but at the concluding section, these limitations are checked to

the case analysed in this thesis.

12

other stores in the area. The result is that consumers residing in different areas might

Finally, the third group includes the models that use direct utility. These models overcome

the problem of context dependence, estimating consumer utility functions from simulated

choice data using information integration, conjoint or logit techniques. Instead of observing

past choices, these methods use consumer evaluations of hypothetical store descriptions to

calibrate the utility function. The best representative model of this group is the one

developed by Ghosh and Craig (Ghosh and Craig, 1983) based on game theory.

Given that the aim of the thesis is the incorporation of one store-choice model in the

MAXCAP model, one of the previous store-choice models needs to be chosen. The criterion

used in making this choice is how well the resulting model can be applied to the real world.

A recent paper (Clarkon, et.al., 1996) analyzed which location models are used by UK

grocery retailers. The research shows that the procedure used by major grocery retailers

operating within the UK do not rely on one approach but employ a combination of several.

These different approaches were used in a sequence to maximize the overall effectiveness.

Firms initially use checklist analysis to reduce the cost and time required to assess a large

number of potential site locations before using the analogue approach, regression or a gravity

model. Finally, the financial analysis decides which location is the most suitable for the new

supermarket.

As can be seen, theoretical models are applied to the real world as part of a wider analysis.

The Clarkon’s study also shows the fact that the most highly-developed models like MCI

and Multiple Store Location (Achabal, et.al., 1982) are usually applied in a retailing context

by US firms, but not by UK firms. The reason is that grocery retailers operating within the

13

UK believed that the consumer spatial structure of shopping opportunities in the UK differs

The conclusions of the Clarkon paper show that firms prefer the revealed preference

models since it more faithfully reflects real consumer behavior whilst the direct utility

approach is simpler since it uses surveys and linear regressions instead of conjoint, logit

In the revealed preference approach, the most popular model is the MCI model (Craig, et.al.,

1984). One of the practical problems of this model is that to date all the calibration had

reflected the consumer spatial structure of shopping opportunities of the US market. The

problem is overcome in this paper because the surveys were conducted in the UK and Spain.

This means that calibration of the MCI in this case reflects British and Spanish Consumer

Spatial structure.

3. METHODOLOGY

The main objective of this thesis is the presentation of a new methodology for determining

which store attributes (other than distance) should be included in a new version of the

MAXCAP model applicable to the retail sector as well as how these parameters ought to be

reflected. The parameter ρij included in the MAXCAP model will be determined using the

will be performed for two scenarios: Milton Keynes (in Great Britain) and Barcelona (in

Spain).

14

Figure 1. Methodology

supermarket- choice behaviour

through a Factor analysis applied to the survey

database

found in the previous analysis as variables

supermarket factor attributes and estimation of

sensitivity parameters) by applying of the ordinary

least squares methods on the log-transformed centered

form of the specified MCI equation

15

3.1. FIRST STEP

The first step of the paper is the design and development of a survey of consumer

other words, the model uses information revealed by past consumer behavior to calibrate its

parameters.

First of all, a questionnaire was design o be used in a personal interview survey. The main

First of all, general questions on shopping behavior were done. Questions 1&2 determine the

do their shopping. Question 3 was an open-ended question on the reasons for choosing one

supermarket to do the “shopping”. And finally, in question 4, consumers were asked to rank

the main supermarket’s attributes. These attributes were extracted from a paper (Burn, 1992)

The second and most important part of the questionnaire includes specific questions on

attributes was structured in blocks representing the main supermarket attributes groups.

These blocks were the ones defined by London & Della (London & Della, 1998): Location,

“shopping”. The specific attributes in each block are the ones defined in Della (London &

Della, 1988) and McGoldrick (McGoldrick, 1990). The attributes were measured in

16

accordance with the procedures set out in the Marketing Scales handbook (Gordon, et.al.,

1993).

The aim of location was to glean information requires for determining the variables ρij and

dij11 These ones need the determination of the origin and destination of the trip. The

destination in this case is clear because it is the supermarket where customers had just done

their shopping. But the point of origin is more difficult to ascertain. Most researchers assume

that people always travel from home when they go shopping. But nowadays, given

demographic changes (e.g., working women), the trip origin may be either home or the

workplace12.

The survey for this thesis was conducted in Spain and Great Britain. The only differences

between both samples were the supermarkets involved. The type of survey, the questionnaire

and the sample design were the same. This was so because the aim was to analyze the

The target population in Great Britain was British supermarket shoppers. The sampling

frame was shoppers at two supermarkets in the Food Centre of the Central Milton Keynes

Shopping Centre. The two supermarkets located in this area are Sainsbury and Waitrose. The

target population in Spain was the Spanish supermarket shoppers. The sampling frame was

shoppers at two supermarkets in the centre of Barcelona. These are Bon Preu and Caprabo.

11

Traditionally, distance has been considered one of the basic reasons for patronising one supermarket. In this

paper, distance was computed both in terms of physical distance and travel time distance from home and

workplace.

12

Note that we have assumed that there is only two possible origin for the trip. The reason is that these two are

the most important ones and the adding of more options could complicate the analysis.

17

In principle, the financial constraints of this study determined a sample of 200 consumers in

each country. However operational problems in the British survey resulted in a sample of 99

consumers. Thus, the Spanish sample size gives a level of accuracy (confidence level) of ±

7.1 % (for all variables), while the British sample yields a level of accuracy of ± 10 % (for

all variables).

The sample procedure selected in this case is a simple random sampling one. Additionally in

this case, we split the sample size into different hours and days. The reason was that we

wanted to avoid a sample biased toward only one type of supermarket customer (e.g. weekly

Wednesdays (all day) as a guide to weekly shopping habits and 40% on Fridays (afternoon

After conducting the fieldwork, the Spanish sample followed the previous a priori

distribution. However operational problems with the British survey prevented this a priori

distribution being followed. It also proved impossible to follow the a priori daily

When consumers choose one supermarket to shop, they have to evaluate a large number of

attributes. In the questionnaire of this thesis, consumers were asked to evaluate the relative

behavior can be seen as a large multi-attribute problem. But, we need a more parsimonious

description of the data to assess a general store-choice behavior. How can we do it?

18

A theoretical approach for handling multi-attribute judgement problems with a large number

organize individual decision attributes into clusters or sets. Consumers then evaluate and

aggregate some property of each of the sets to reach an overall judgement. Moreover, this

approach suggests that one could use factor analysis to determine the sets of attributes, and

then use these sets as the basis for the hierarchical task.

As the supermarket choice behavior can be seen as a large multiattribute problem (Louviere

& Gaeth, 1987), we can use the assumptions of the previous theoretical approach. Using

them, the attributes evaluated in the surveys can be categorized into specific factors using

Factors analysis.

Moreover, it can be pointed out that a recent research (Hutcheson and Moutinho, 1998) have

used factor analysis and regression analysis to estimate the relative importance of each of the

factors selecting supermarkets and the way in which they interact to determine the level of

customer satisfaction.

After finding the key supermarket factor attributes, the next step is the specification of the

MCI model. This specification involves the substitution of the Akij variables of the MCI

model, by the factors found in the previous factor analysis and two key variables related to

13

The ordinary least square theory states that the omission of relevant variables in a regression analysis could

lead to biased estimators (i.e., a biased estimator is one where the estimated value is different from the true

one). Then, in this case, the simplest distance variables have been included in the MCI specification to achieve

19

The MCI version used in this thesis is the original version of Nakanishi and Cooper

s

∏ Akij k

β

(5) ρ ij = k =1

m

s

∑ ∏ Akij k

β

j =1 k =1

ρ ij = The probability that consumers at location i will shop at shop j. (i.e., The proportion

Akij = The k-th attribute describing shop j attracting consumers from site i; in this case:

- And two distance variables (physical distance and travel time distance

unbiased estimators (although the thesis’ aim is the determination of the store’s attributes excluding distance

variables).

14

Physical distance is computed as the Manhattan rectilinear distance (because the scenario is a city) from the

exact address of the origin to the supermarket in the Spanish survey. Due to some operational problems in the

British survey, the physical distance in the British case has been computed with the answer to the second

question of the location block: How far is the store from your home / your workplace?

15

Travel time distance has been computed, in both cases, with the answers to the third question of the location

block: How long does it takes to get to the store from your home / your workplace?

20

β k = Parameters still not estimated, which reflect the sensitivity of consumers to the shop

An assumption of the original Nakanishi and Cooper MCI model formulation restricts the

response to all shops alternatives. The use of such market wide parameters allows one to

assess how each variable affects patronage but does not permit analysis of these influences

Given this assumption, the Nakanishi and Cooper estimation is not useful in most real cases.

The reason is that a firm employing the MCI model usually wants to estimate its individual

sensitivity parameters. This is a different case to the one studied in this paper. Here, the

variables and the sensitive parameters, which reflect aggregate market response to all shop

alternatives, have been estimated. Following the same approach, Jain and Mahajan (Jain and

Mahajan, 1979) estimated the original Nakanishi and Cooper MCI model for the food-

After specification of the MCI model, it only remains to calibrate the model to each specific

§ The identification of the significant attributes in each case (i.e., which attributes are

attribute).

21

Nakanishi and Cooper (Nakanishi and Cooper, 1974) showed that the MCI equation could be

calibrated by the ordinary least square method on the log-transformed centered form of the

equation. They also demonstrated that these estimations could be unbiased and efficient

when sampling errors were negligible and specification errors were uncorrelated.

In practical terms, firstly, the original MCI equation16 (equation (6)) is transformed into its

log-transformed-centered form (equation (7)). And then, the ordinary least square method is

s *

∏ Akij k

β

ς ij

(6) ρ ij = k =1

m

s β

∑ ∏ Akij k ς ij*

j =1 k =1

p A *

ij s

kij ς ij

(7) ln ∧ =

p

∑ ln ∧

k =1 A

+ ln ∧ *

i ki ςi

Where,

1

m m

pˆ i = ∏ p ij = Geometric mean of the probabilities of consumers at zone i shopping at

j=1

m-shops.

1

m m

Aˆ ki = ∏ Akij = Geometric mean of k-th attributes of m shops evaluated by consumers

j =1

at zone i.

16

Note that a disturbance term has to be included when the parameters of the model were estimated.

22

1

∧

m m

j =1

i

Although this estimation seems operationally simple, there is a computational problem for

the analyst: if consumers from any zone i (i = 1...n) do not shop at a shop j (j = 1... m), the

resulting pij and the geometric mean, p^i, for the consumers’ zone will be equal to zero. In

such an event, the transformation of the ratio pij / p^i will not be possible for parameter

estimation (Jain and Mahajan, 1979). The practical solution is the creation of consumers’

zone; each of this consumers’ zone has to have consumers patronizing all supermarket

alternatives. For example, if the scenario has two supermarkets, each consumers’ zone has to

have consumers that shop in supermarket 1 and consumers that shop in supermarket 2.

In this study, this computational problem has one practical consequence: each database has

individual consumers as cases. This implies that before applying ordinary least squares on

the log-transformed centered form of the MCI equation, consumers’ zones need to be

created. Specifically, the consumers’ zones have been created in such a way that consumers

4. ANALYSES OF DATA

Before the detailed questions about the supermarket’s attributes, several questions related to

general shopping behavior were done. In the second general question, consumers were asked

17

Note that the scenarios analysed in this thesis have two supermarkets.

23

to rank the main supermarket attributes. In the Spanish survey, there were 8 dimensions to be

ranked (from very important 1 to not important 8); while in the British survey, there were 9

dimensions to be ranked (from very important 1 to not important 9)19. To summarize these

rankings, the mean and standard deviation of each attribute were computed (Table 1).

18

Note that the evaluation of each supermarket attribute for each consumer zone has been computed as the

average evaluation of the customers of this specific supermarket in this specific demand node.

19

The British questionnaire includes the dimension of financial service (defined as the services offered by

supermarkets that had a bank). While, the Spanish survey does not include it because Spanish supermarkets do

not yet offer this type of service.

24

Table 1. Ranking of supermarket attributes20

Deviation Deviation

20

A χ 2 test to the frequencies of these variables shows that all of them are significant.

25

From the previous Table 1, we can pointed out that, in the Spanish sample, convenience

(1.62) was the most important characteristic for customers whilst financial services (7.16)

was the least one. The other range of characteristics fell between these extremes in the

following order: quality of products (3.68), range of products (4.07), price of products

(4.26), staff (4.28), hours of opening (4.30) and customer service (6.15). The standard

deviation scores also provided some useful information on the pattern of responses.

Relatively low deviation scores were observed for items such as convenience and financial

services, whereas higher deviations were observed for items such as price products and

hours. This result was to be expected, since the mean perceived importance of items is likely

differentiates the sample. For example, convenience was importance to most, if not all,

respondents and was rated similarly by everyone. In contrast to this, some items appeal more

to specific subgroups of the sample and therefore attract different ratings of importance,

which increase the standard deviation measure. An example of this is hours of opening,

In the British sample, quality products (2.71) proved the most important characteristic whilst

financial service (8.40) was the least one. The other characteristics fell between these two

extremes in the following order: convenience (2.98), range of products (3.10), price of

products (3.46), hours of opening (5.03), staff (5.41), customer service (5.80) and customer

accounts (8.12). In this case, low deviation scores were obtained for items such as financial

service and customer accounts; whereas higher deviations were observed for items such as

26

4.2. DETERMINATION OF KEY SUPERMARKET ATTRIBUTES

Factor analysis21 was applied to the Spanish survey. Eight factors were identified. These

factors represented 68 percent of the variance of the 21 variables22. This percentage was

acceptable given that the criterion of satisfactory percentage of variance explained in social

The interpretation of the rotated factor matrix was supported by the fact that the minimum

significance level for the factor loading in a sample size of 200 is 0.4 (using table 3.2., page

112, Hair, et.al., 1998). In other words, in a sample of size 200, the variables with factor

The label and the significant factor loading variables (i.e., the variables with a factor loading

greater than 0.4) of each factor are the ones shown in Table 2.

21

In this case, factors were extracted with component analysis and using Varimax rotation.

22

Note that 5 variables were extracted in the reespecification because their communalities were less than 0.5.

27

Table 2. Factors for Spanish survey

knowledgeable

Pbrandsp Store has products of all well known brands and 0.421

own label ones

28

Prangesp Store has all basic products and a variety of special 0.553

items

Factor 8: Location

29

The final step of the Factor analysis was the selection of the surrogate variables23 of each

factor. These surrogate variables were the representatives of the factors found and the ones

used in the next regression analysis. In the Spanish case, for example, the first factor of

“accessibility by modes of transport” was represented by the variable parksp24 (i.e., “It is

easy to park at the store”) because was the variable with the higher factor loading. All

23

As our objective was the identification of appropriate variables for a subsequent application of the regression

technique, a form of data reduction was applied. Given that the aim of this thesis was the practical use of the

model (i.e., its replication) to locate supermarkets, the data reduction technique chose in this case was the

surrogate variables. Surrogate form of data reduction examines the factor matrix and selects the variables with

the highest factor loading on each factor to act as a surrogate variable that is representative of that factor (Hair,

et.al., 1998).

24

Note that it is easy to use a single surrogate variable instead of a linear combination of variables (i.e., Factor

Scores).

30

Table 3. Surrogate variables of the Spanish survey

VARIABLE

31

The previous surrogate variables that represented the factor-attributes found were the key

supermarket’s attributes ( Akij ) that would be included in the Spanish MCI model. As we

have explained, additionally, the physical and travel time distance25 were also introduced in

the specification of the MCI model. Using the Spanish surrogate variables found and the

distance variables, the specified MCI model in the Spanish scenario is the following one:

β β β β β

Parkspij 1 * Fcheckspij 2 * Emovespij 3 * C lub cspij 4 * Pqualsp ij 5

(8) pij =

m β β β β β

∑ ( Parksp ij 1 * Fcheckspij 2 * Emovespij 3 * C lub cspij 4 * Pqualspij 5

j =1

β β β β β

* Offerspij 6 * Omiddayspij 7 * Locatedspij 8 * Dhousespij 9 * Timehspij 10

β β β β β

* Offerspij 6 * Omiddayspij 7 * Locatedspij 8 * Dhousespij 9 * Timehspij 10 )

Factor analysis was applied to the British survey. Eight factors were identified. These factors

represented 77 percent of the variance of the 19 variables26. This percentage was acceptable

The interpretation of the rotated factor matrix was supported by the fact that the minimum

significance level for the factor loading in a sample size of 99 (≈ 100) is 0.55 (using table

3.2., page 112, Hair, et.al., 1998). In other words, in a sample of size near 100, the variables

25

Physical distance and travel time distance from consumers’ zone i to supermarket j in the Spanish scenario

are represented by dhousesp and timehsp variables, respectively.

26

Note that 8 variables were extracted in the reespecification.

32

The label and the significant factor loading’s variables (i.e., the variables with a factor

loading greater than 0.55) of each factor are the ones shown in Table 4.

33

Table 4. Factors for British survey

knowledgeable

34

Homeduk Home delivery 0.704

Factor 7: Location

35

From the previous table, it can be pointed out that the fact that, in this case, two factors were

created to represent the importance of modes of transport. Factor 5 represents the non-car

customers’ facilities, while factor 8 represents car customers’ facilities. The polarization of

the British society between the car users and non-car users were shown by these two factors;

specifically, by factor 5. The reason is that factor 5 included non-car users’ variables (“Easy

access by public transport” and “home delivery”) with positive factors loading and, more

important, a car user variable (“it is easy to park at the store”) with negative factor loading.

In other words, non-car users gave importance to non-car facilities and, at the same time,

The final step of the Factor analysis was the selection of the surrogate variables of each

factor. In the British case, for example, the sixth factor of “wider opening hours” was

represented by the variable osundayuk (i.e., “the store is open on Sunday”) because was the

variable with the higher factor loading. All British surrogate variables are presented in Table

5.

36

Table 5. Surrogate variables of the British survey

VARIABLE

37

The previous surrogate variables that represent the factor-attributes found were the key

supermarket’s attributes ( Akij ) that would be included in the British MCI model. As we have

explained, additionally, the physical and travel time distance27 were also introduced in the

specification of the MCI model. Using the surrogate variables found and the distance

variables, the specified MCI model in the British scenario is the following one:

(9) pij = m

∑ ( Advertuk

j =1

β1

ij * Emoveukijβ 2 * Pfreshukijβ 3 * Echeckukijβ 4 * Publictukijβ 5

* Osundayukijβ 6 * Locatedukijβ 7 * Dpetrolukijβ 8 * Dhouseukijβ 9 * Timehukijβ10 )

The calibration of the model identifies, firstly, which of the relevant supermarket’s attributes

identified by consumers (in the factor analysis) are discriminatory supermarket choice. The

calibration, also, estimates the consumers’ sensitivity parameters to the significant (i.e.,

Firstly, the consumers’ zone was created from individual consumer responses, using two

assumptions:

First, the variable “timehsp” coded as interval was transformed to a numeric variable.

27

Physical distance and travel time distance from consumers’ i to supermarket j in the British scenario are

represented by dhouseuk and timehuk variables, respectively.

38

§ Second, consumers that went shopping exclusively from their workplace were excluded

from the analysis. Given that only 11.5 % came exclusively from home, 177 consumers

forming the initial sample were used to create the consumer zones.

The reason of this exclusion is the purpose of the MCI model. Its main application is its

replication in different zones to predict the market share capture of each supermarket in

each zone. The model is estimated with a representative sample, and after this, it is

census reflects the population that lives in these specific zones but not the people

working there.

In the Spanish case, 15 zones were created. The next step was the computation of the new

Akij and pij for the consumer zone using the individual Aki*j and the number of consumers in

each zone28.

The last computational transformation before the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation

was the log-centered transformation of the MCI equation. In this case, this transformation

was:

pij ij ij ij ij

(10) ln ∧ = β1 ln ∧ + β 2 ln ∧ + β 3

ln ∧ + β 4 ln ∧

p locatedsp parksp emovesp omiddaysp

i i i i i

clubcsp

ij fchecksp ij pqualspij offersp ij

+ β 5 ln ∧ + β 6 ln ∧ + β 7 ln ∧ + β 8 ln ∧

clubcsp fchecksp pqualsp offersp

i i i i

ij ij ij

+ β 9 ln ∧ + β 10 ln ∧ + ln ∧

dhousesp timehsp ς

i i i

39

Finally, the ordinary least squares were applied to the log-centered transformation form of

the MCI29. The regression estimation for the Spanish survey states that:

ij ij ij ij

(11) ln ∧ = −2.989 ln ∧ + 0 .858 ln ∧ + 1 .645 ln ∧

p dhousesp parksp offersp

i i i i

The previous equation is the log-centered transformed form of the estimated Spanish MCI

model. Using the parameters estimated in equation (11), the original MCI model for the

(12) pij =

∑ [dhousesp ]

m

− 2.989

ij * parkspij0.858 * offersp1ij.645

j =1

where,

offerspij = Valuation by zone i’s consumers to “the low price policy image” of

28

Note that the Aki*j used are the eight ones identified by the Factor analysis plus the physical and travel time

distance.

29

The OLS procedure was applied using stepwise estimation. After the estimation, the statistical significance

determines a R-square of 0.881 and an adjusted R-square of 0.868. Moreover, the t-tests of all three variables,

except the constant, prove that all coefficients were significantly different from zero for a significant of 95%.

Finally, an analysis of the residuals confirmed that the previous estimations were correct.

40

Summing up, the calibration of the Spanish MCI model have identified:

Equation (16) shows that the probability of patronizing the two Spanish supermarkets

depends on three variables: “the physical distance from consumer’s zone to the

supermarkets” (i.e., variable parksp) and “the low price policy image” (i.e., variable

offersp). In other words, the choice between both Spanish supermarkets depends only on

these three attributes, because both supermarkets were very similar in the other relevant

attributes.

In this case, the estimated parameters were –2.989 for the variables dhousesp, 0.858 for

the variable parksp and 1.645 for the variable offersp. A positive sign of the sensitivity

parameters indicates that a supermarket with higher levels of that attribute would have a

supermarket with a higher level of that attribute would have a lower probability of being

modes of transport” or “low price policy image” would achieve a higher capture of

consumers (i.e., a higher probability (pij)); while the further supermarket from

Moreover, the absolute values of these sensitive parameters indicate the relative level of

importance give to each of the attributes; a higher value of the sensitive parameter

indicates that a little change of that attribute in one supermarket would have a higher

impact on the probability of being patronized. In this case, the Spanish consumers were

41

more sensitive to physical distance; than to “low price policy image” and “accessibility

Firstly, the consumers’ zone was created from individual consumer responses, using two

assumptions:

§ First, the variables timehuk and dhouseuk coded as interval were transformed to numeric

variables.

§ Second, consumers that went shopping exclusively from their workplace were excluded

Given the operational problems in the British survey, not all the interviewees did their

usual “shopping” in the supermarket patronized in the survey. As the thesis’ aim was the

exclude the cases that did not comply with this condition31. Finally, a sample of 62

consumers was determined after the exclusion of the cases that did not comply with any

30

The justification to do this can be found in section 4.3.1.

31

Note that, in the Spanish survey, all the interviewees were usual customers of the Spanish supermarkets. The

reason was that, in this case, the interviewer confirmed that the interviewee did their usual shopping in that

supermarket before begin the interview.

42

In the British case, 6 zones were created32. The next step was the computation of the new Akij

and pij for the consumers zone using the individual Aki*j and the number of consumers in

each zone33.

The last computational transformation before the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation

was the log-centered transformation of the MCI equation. In this case, this transformation

was:

ij ij ij ij ij

(13) ln ∧ = β1 ln ∧ + β 2

ln ∧ + β 3

ln ∧ + β 4

ln ∧

p Advertuk emoveuk Pfreshuk echeckuk

i i i i i

ij ij ij ij

+ β 5 ln ∧ + β 6

ln ∧ + β 7

ln ∧ + β 8

ln ∧

Publictuk Osundayuk Locateduk dpetroluk

i i i i

ς*

dhouseuk ij timehukij ij

+ β 9 ln ∧ + β10 ln ∧ + ln ∧

dhouseuk timehuk ς

i i i

As can be expected, all values of the variable “Dhouseuk” were zeros because the

consumers’ zones were created using the codes (i.e., the intervals) described by this variable.

Then, this variable was excluded from equation (13) to be able to apply ordinary least

32

The operational problems of the British sample did not allow knowing the exact address of the interviewees.

Then, the zones were created using the zones described by the variable dhouseuk (i.e., “physical distance from

consumer home to the supermarket”). The six zones created correspond to the six intervals defined in that

variable (i.e., zone 1 includes consumers living within a radius of less than 2 kilometres round the two side-by-

side supermarkets of the Food Centre).

33

Note that the Aki*j used are the eight ones identified by the Factor analysis plus the physical and travel time

distance.

43

Finally, the ordinary least squares were applied to the log-centered transformation form of

the MCI34. The regression estimation for the Spanish survey states that:

p Advertuk Pfreshuk

ij ij ij

(14) ln ∧ = 2.163 ln ∧ + 1 .650 ln ∧

p Advertuk Pfreshuk

i i i

The previous equation is the log-centered transformed form of the estimated British MCI

model. Using the parameters estimated in equation (14), the original MCI model for the

advertukij2.163 * pfreshukij1.650

(15) pij =

∑ [advertuk ]

m

2.163

ij * pfreshukij1.650

j =1

where,

Summing up, the calibration of the British MCI model have identified:

34

The OLS procedure was applied using stepwise estimation. After the estimation, the statistical significance

determines a R-square of 0.864 and an adjusted R-square of 0.691. Moreover, the t-tests of both variables,

except the constant, prove that all coefficients were significantly different from zero for a significant of 95%.

Finally, an analysis of the residuals confirmed that the previous estimations were correct.

44

Equation (15) shows that the probability of patronizing the two British supermarkets

depends on two variables: “the low price policy image” (i.e., variable advertuk) and

“quality and range of merchandise” (i.e., variable pfreshuk). In other words, the choice

between both British supermarkets depends only on these two attributes, because both

supermarkets were very similar in the other relevant attributes. For example, in this case,

distance (i.e., travel time distance) was not significant to explain the supermarket choice

because these two supermarkets are located side by side in the Food Centre of the

In this case, these parameters were 2.163 for the variable advertuk and 1.650 for the

variable pfreshuk. Here, the supermarket with higher valuation of “the low price policy

consumers (i.e., a higher probability (pij)). Moreover, the absolute values of the sensitive

parameters indicate that the British consumers were more sensitive to “low price policy

The result of this paper is the presentation of a new version of the maximum capture model

for the supermarket sector which takes account of revealed consumer store-choice behavior.

The maximum capture model (MAXCAP) presented in this case selects the location of

45

maximizes it share of a market where competing supermarkets are already operating. The

i∈I j∈J

Subject to

(17) ∑x

j⊂J

ij = p + q , ∀i ∈ I

(18) xij ≤ x jj , ∀i ∈ I , ∀j ∈ J

(19) ∑x

j⊂J

jj =p

This formulation is similar to the one in the P-median problem (the one presented in

j⊂J

ij =1 ∀i ∈ I , the one that forces each

consumers’ zone i to assign to only one shop. Instead, we use constraint set (17) which

states that every consumer zone makes p + q assignments to the p new and q existing

supermarket shops.

§ The parameter ρij is defined using the results found in the previous calibration of the

define ρij, the new version of MAXCAP model takes into account how consumers

35

The notation is the same to the one used in section 2.1.

46

The calibration of the parameters of the ρij was performed separately for each country’s

database (as explained in Section 3.4.). Next, we present the two ρij (Spanish and British)

values for use in the new MAXCAP model. The use of each will depend on the country

(20) p ij =

∑ [dhousesp ]

m

− 2.989

ij * parkspij0.858 * offerspij1.645

j =1

where,

offerspij = Valuation by zone i’s consumers to the low price policy image of

advertukij2.163 * pfreshukij1.650

(21) pij =

∑ [advertuk ]

m

2.163

ij * pfreshukij1.650

j =1

where,

47

Advertukij = Valuation by zone i’s consumers to “low price policy image” of

6. CONCLUSIONS

The aim of this paper is the presentation of a new methodology for determining which

supermarket attributes should be included in the new version of the MAXCAP model

applicable to the retail sector as well as how these parameters ought to be reflected. The

methodology presented in this thesis is the second stage of a broader methodology that

derives the optimal location of new supermarkets in a market where other supermarkets were

already operating.

In this section, we are going to present briefly the flow of a simple application of this

broader methodology and how the analyses presented in this paper were included.

We can consider a scenario represented by a network. This network represents a small town

in Great Britain and each node represent a consumer zone (i.e., neighborhood zones). In this

little town, there are several supermarkets located. A new supermarket chain wants to locate

a store in that little town. The entering Supermarket Company decides to apply the

MAXCAP methodology to find the optimal location of the new store. To do this, the

48

The first stage would be the development of a survey in this British town. In this survey,

1. To simplify the analysis, we could use the list of general attributes found in this paper for

the British case. In this case, the attributes evaluated in the survey do not need to be

categorized into factors using Factor analysis because general attributes have been used

Second Stage: Calibration of the MCI model in this British scenario to determine the

parameter pij

§ The computation of the new Akij and pij for the consumers’ zones using the individual Akij

§ Finally, the application of the ordinary least square method to the previous log-centered

The calibration of the MCI model would give the estimated MCI for this small town

scenario. Specifically, the calibration would identify which attributes are discriminatory in

the choice between the supermarkets in that British town. Moreover, the calibration would

also estimate the level of importance (i.e., sensitivity parameters) given by consumers to

49

Using the pij found in the previous stage, we can solve the new MAXCAP model36.

The resolution of the MAXCAP model would give the optimal location for the new

supermarket. Moreover, we could assume different levels of the significant key attributes for

the new supermarket and find, in each case, the optimal location.

The main limitations of the analysis are the ones identified for revealed preference methods

(Craig, et.al., 1984) and specifically for the MCI model used in this thesis. We shall now

§ This model assumes consumer utility function to be compensatory. But really consumers

reject stores beyond a certain distance and may also reject stores unless they meet

This problem does not apply here because the supermarket alternatives in both scenarios

have a minimum level of all key attributes. Additionally, the supermarkets in both cases

were closely enough to be alternative choices for all the consumers in the sample.

§ The model is context dependent; i.e. the estimated parameters associated with

characteristics on which the existing stores do not differ much would be low. This does

not, however, imply that such characteristics are unimportant to consumers but rather

that other variables are used to discriminate among them. This limitation applies to both

Section 4.1.1.) was convenience (location and access by transport mode), quality

products, range of products and price products. Despite this ranking, the key

36

Note that this stage is not explained in this paper, but it is the next step of the broader research.

50

discriminating variables between both Spanish supermarkets were convenience (distance

and accessibility by transport mode) and price policy. This means that both supermarkets

are very similar in terms of product quality and range. In a similar way, distance was not

significant to explain the British supermarket choice because the two British

supermarkets were located side by side in the Food Centre of the Central Milton Keynes

Shopping Centre.

§ The distance decay parameter (βd) is highly dependent on the characteristics of the

spatial structure.

This limitation is also applicable to this study. Although both surveys were designed to

be as similar as possible, it was not possible to overcome the issue of different spatial

Mediterranean city where supermarkets and grocery shops are located throughput

the city.

- The British scenario is the centre of Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes is a big

residential area. Basically, its roundabouts and American style road network were

designed to ensure that any part of the city would be within 15 minutes drive

time. In terms of supermarkets, the city has a big shopping centre in the middle of

the city (called the Central Milton Keynes Shopping centre) and several small

malls on the city outskirts. The two supermarkets used in the British survey are

51

Finally, there is a statistical limitation of the analysis. This is due to:

§ The sample size: the Spanish survey had a sample size of 200 questionnaires, which gave

a level of accuracy (confidence level) of ± 7.1%. The British survey had a sample size of

§ The Spanish sample was distributed a priori as a function of the day of the week and the

supermarket involved. The distribution chosen tries to avoid bias in choosing only one

type of supermarket shopper (i.e., weekly or weekend one’s). The British survey posed a

problem in this respect. Operational difficulties meant the British survey could not be

split as the basis of this a priori distribution. Likewise, we were able to establish the

daily distribution of the sample afterwards. The British sample may therefore be biased

The new direction of this research is obviously the analysis of the third stage of the broader

research work which aim is the presentation of a new modified version of the MAXCAP

model applicable to the retail sector. This last stage involves resolving the new modified

Firstly, model resolution will involve new metaheuristics37 techniques such as: Heuristic

Concentration (Rosing and ReVelle, 1996, 1997) or Greedy Randomised Adaptive Search

(GRASP) (Feo and Resende, 1989). The resolution of the model involves a computational

37

A metaheuristic us a process which applies a subordinate heuristic at each step which has to be designed for

each particular problem. Although there is no guarantee of optimality of these methodologies; Metaheuristics

have proved highly successful in obtaining high quality solutions to many real world complex problems.

52

Once an optimal resolution has been identified, the model can be applied to real cases. A real

case where a new food retailing company wishes to enter a market with a fixed number of

shops to maximize its market share given that another food retailing company is already

operating with a determined number of shops. The computation of the new optimal locations

for the entering firm will be the result of the resolution of this new MAXCAP model that

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